Mentally ill man dies of starvation after services miss opportunities to help

A 37 year old mentally ill alcoholic man died of malnourishment
because he was ignored by his local mental health services, an
inquest heard last week, writes Derren

Alfred Garner’s body was found in his south west London home
dehydrated, incontinent, and dressed in a bin liner, Southwark
Coroners court heard. Local mental services missed two
opportunities to help Garner, the inquest was told.

They ignored Garner’s plight despite a referral from his GP
and a housing officer’s report that said his flat was smeared
in excrement and covered in beer cans.

Garner, who had a history of schizophrenic like psychosis, died in
October, 2003, from multiple organ failure on the day a mental
health worker finally visited him.

A doctor who examined Garner’s body told the inquest his was
the worst case of malnutrition she had seen in 20 years.

Coroner Selena Lynch recorded a verdict of death from self neglect
and alcohol dependence. She said the case would be reported to the
Central and North London NHS Trust.


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